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Fal. I pray thee now, deliver them like a man of this world.
Pist. A foutre for the world and worldlings base!
I speak of Africa and golden joys.
Fal. O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news?
Then, Pistol, lay thy head in Furies' lap.
96. pray thee] prethee Ff. prose Q. phetual Couetua Q; Couitha Ff. Hellicon F 3; Helicon F 4. Rowe.
98-105. A foutre . . . lap,] as verse in Ff; as 98. foutre] footre Q; footra Ff; foutra Theobald.
Nabbes, Microcosmus, v: 66
102. Singing.] Steevens. 103. Helicons] 105. Furies'] Capell; Furies Q, Ff; Fury's
I might hope for as golden dayes and coaching agen." Sw.gyllene tider (or dagar), golden times, halcyon or palmy days.
95. of price] precious; so in Edward the Third, v. i: "thing of price"; Jonson, The New Inn, III. ii: "the time is now of price," and ib. iv. iii: "any rich thing of price.'
96, 97. man .. world] ordinary mortal; cf. Marston, The Fawn, III. i: "Prithee confer with me like a creature made of flesh and blood." The expression "man of this world" probably derives from S. John, viii. 24: "ye are of this world; I am not of this world"; it occurs in the earliest English translation of De Imitatione Christi (ed. Ingram, p. 80): “trowist pou þat men of his worlde suffre nou3t or litel?" Cf. Shelton, Don Quixote, III : "hearing the speech of our knight-errant... he seemed unto them a man of the other world," and ib. III. iv: "spirits, or people of another world"; Fletcher, The Chances, Iv. ii: "Belike they thought I was no man of this world" [i.e. that I was a dead man]. 98. foutre] A coarse word, of French origin, used frequently as an expression of contempt. See Barry, Ram-Alley, III. i: "Throat. I'll pass my word. Beard. Foutre! words are wind"; The tryall of Cheualry, II. i: "Pet. Bowyer? mordu! futra for him!" O.F. fotre from L. futuere, Veneri operam dare. Worldings, men of this world, mortals, as in As You Like It, II. i. 48.
99. Africa] An allusion to the fabled wealth of Africa. Golden, rich.
100. Assyrian knight] Cf. Dekker, The Shomakers Holiday (Pearson, i. 63): "my fine dapper Assirian lads." Simon Eyre, in the play just cited, is fertile in playful biblical designations, as "Mesopotamians" (Pearson, i. 30), "Philistines" (p. 31)," Babylonian (p. 42).
101. Cophetua] The king who married a beggar-maid in the ballad of King Cophetua and the Beggar-Maid. The ballad was printed by Percy in the Reliques (ed. Wheatley, i. 189), from the text supplied in Richard Johnson's Crown Garland of Goulden Roses, 1612. Shakespeare had already alluded to the story of the King and the Beggar in Richard II. v. iii. 80, and Love's Labour's Lost, IV. i. 64. Jonson refers to the King in Every Man in his Humour, III. ii: "as rich as King Cophetua."
102. And... John] A scrap from the ballad of Robin Hood and the Pindar of Wakefield (Child, v. 204).
103. confront Helicons] challenge comparison with, or "affront," the Muses. Pistol probably confounds Mount Helicon, the haunt of the Muses, with the Muses themselves. Pistol's meaning may be "aspire to be poets"; cf. J. Mayne, The City Match, 11. vi: my brave wit, My man of Helicon.'
104. baffled] treated with contumely, as in Twelfth Night, 11. v. 177; and Beaumont and Fletcher, The WildGoose Chase, v. ii; "Ere I stay here to
Shal. Honest gentleman, I know not your breeding.
Shal. Give me pardon, sir: if, sir, you come with news from the court, I take it there 's but two ways, either
to utter them, or to conceal them. I am, sir, under IIO 110 the king, in some authority.
Pist. Under which king, Besonian? speak, or die.
106. Honest.... breeding.] two lines in Ff. 109. there's] there is Ff. 110. or to] or Q. 112. Ünder... die.] two lines, the first ending King? in Ff. 112. king, Besonian ?] King? Bezonian, Ff.
be abus'd and baffled." For the original sense of "baffle," in reference to the punishment inflicted upon recreant knights, cf. Faerie Queene, VI. vii. 27, and Beaumont and Fletcher, A King and No King, III. ii: “ they hung me up by the heels, and beat me with hazel-sticks,"
106. I... breeding] I am at a loss to gather what your upbringing has been, to what profession you belong, whether you are a soldier, poet or what. Cf. Fletcher and Massinger, The Elder Brother, I. i: "two ... sons Of different breeding, th' elder a mere scholar, The younger a quaint courtier "; Middleton, The World Tost at Tennis, (Bullen, vii. 160): Ye 've noble breedings both "[i.e. training as a scholar and soldier respectively]; Massinger, A New Way to Pay Old Debts, Iv. i.
107. Why ... therefore.] This retort seems to have won popularity, for Pistol makes use of a variation upon it in Henry V. III. v. 52: "Pist. Why, then, rejoice therefore" (Malone quotes "I rejoice therefore," from Marlowe's Massacre of Paris). It was later utilised by Jonson in a burlesque of the horrible fierce soldier's vein in Poetaster (1601), III. i: "2 Pyr. Why then lament therefore: damned be thy guts," etc. Cf. Ford, Love's Sacrifice, IV. i: "If I must hang, why, then: lament therefore." A burlesque may be intended of a speech exemplifying the "doleful strain (Jonson, Poetaster, III. i) of the Interlude of King Daryus (1565): "Constancy. God doth you abhore ... Except you repent And your syns lament He will you destroy." Therefore, for that, on that account.
109, 110. there's but... them.] Cf. J. Shirley, Love Tricks, v. iii: "there
is but two ways; either you must... or . . ."
110, III. I am . . . authority] So in London Prodigal, 11. i: "Sir Arthur. I am a commander, Sir, under the king." For the satire on the self-importance of justices of the peace, cf. Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, II. i, where Justice Overdo is the speaker: "Would all men in authority would follow this worthy precedent! for alas, as we are public persons, what do we know This we are subject to that live in high place."
112. Besonian] Shallow having spoken as a man in authority, Pistol puts him down with a term which signified, in military parlance, a soldier of the lowest rank, a raw recruit. The word "besonian," one of the many Spanish military terms which found their way into English in the sixteenth century, is from Sp. bisoño, soldier or recruit (fig. a novice); Bisoño itself is derived from It. bisogno, I want, that being the first word that the Spanish recruits learned when they went into Italy. "Besonian occurs frequently in the original sense, "a raw, untrained soldier," and in the figurative sense "a novice." See 2 Henry VI. IV. i. 134: "Great men oft die by vile besonians," where Suffolk is addressing the soldiers who are about to murder him (Hart's note in this edition quotes Garrard's Art of Warre (1591): “ Bisonians and fresh water soldiers" (Stanford Dict.). "What besonian is that?" asks Lazarillo de Tormes, a Spanish soldier, in Middleton, Blurt, Master-Constable, 1. ii. Cf. Massinger, The Maid of Honour, IV. i: "bisognion"; Chapman, The Widow's Tears, 1. iii: "a base bisogno "; The
Shal. Under King Harry.
Shal. Harry the fourth.
Harry the fourth? or fifth?
A foutre for thine office!
Fal. What, is the old king dead?
Pist. As nail in door: the things I speak are just.
Shallow, choose what office thou wilt in the land, 'tis thine. Pistol, I will double-charge thee with dignities. Bard. O joyful day!
I would not take a knighthood for my fortune.
Master Shallow, my wilt; I am fortune's
114-118. A Spaniard.] as prose in Q. 114. foutre] fowtre Q; footra 117. fig me] hyphen Ff. 120. As just.] two lines in Ff. 123. Away dignities.] four lines, ending horse, wilt thee dignities. in Ff. 121. Master] M. Q. 124, 125. O. fortune] prose in Q. hood] Knight Q. 126. What!... ... news? Pope.
Merry Devil of Edmonton, II. i: "my bosonians and pensioners "; Sir Giles Goosecap, I. ii: your Bisogno, or your boor"; Brome, The Covent Garden Weeded, v. iii: "March on, Come off. Beat the Bessognes that lie hid in the Carriages." Also G. Gascoigne, The Spoil of Antwerp, 1576 (Arber, English Garner, viii. 160). For the sense "novice," cf. Jonson, Cynthia's Revels, v. ii: "your critic, or your besogno."
114. foutre] With, perhaps, a pun (Q fowtre) on "Fourth" in Shallow's speech.
115. lambkin] A term of endearment, as in Lyly, The Maydes Metamorphosis, III. ii: "my maisters sweete Lambkin,' and W. Congreve, The Double Dealer, IV. ii: my tender lambkin." Tender, young, or "dear," "beloved."
117. do this] i.e. use the insulting gesture made by putting the thumb between the first and middle fingers. Pistol insults Fluellen in this way, describing the gesture with the words "The fig of Spain!" (Henry V. III. v.
125. knightnews.] What?. newes. Q, Ff; What?
62). Cf. Middleton, The Widow, v. i: "The fig of everlasting obloquy Go with him." Sp. higas dar, to "fig," or "give the fig."
117, 118. like Spaniard] The epithet "bragging" seems to have been currently applied to the Spaniard. Thus in R. Hakluyt, The English Voyages, The Voyage unto Cadiz, 1596 (MacLehose, iv. 257): "there was neuer thing more resolutely perfourmed of the couragious English, nor more shamefully lost of the bragging Spaniard."
120. As... door] An allusion to the proverbial "as dead as a door-nail." The saying, which is as old as Piers Plowman, occurs in 2 Henry VI. iv. x. 40, and in Porter's Two Angry Women of Abington.
123. double-charge] So in S. Rowley, The Noble Souldier, 1V. ii: "I did but recoyle because I was double charg'd."
126. What!] An exclamation of exultation, as in Richard III. iv. iv. 321.
steward-get on thy boots: we 'll ride all night. O sweet Pistol! Away, Bardolph! [Exit Bard.] Come, 130 Pistol, utter more to me; and withal devise something to do thyself good. Boot, boot, Master Shallow! I know the young king is sick for me. Let us take any man's horses; the laws of England are at my commandment. Blessed are they that have been 135 my friends; and woe to my lord chief justice! Pist. Let vultures vile seize on his lungs also! "Where is the life that late I led?" say they : Why, here it is; welcome these pleasant days!
SCENE IV.-London. A street.
Enter BEADLES, dragging in HOSTESS QUICKLY and DOLL TEARSHEET.
Host. No, thou arrant knave; I would to God that I might die, that I might have thee hanged: thou hast drawn my shoulder out of joint.
129. steward-get] steward, get Q; steward. Get Ff. Capell. 135. Blessed... that] Happie. . . which Ff. 136. to] vnto Ff. 137, 139. Let ... days !] prose in Q. Ff 1, 2; vild F 3.
130. Exit Bard.]
135. been] bin Q. 137. vile] vil'de
139. these] those Ff.
139. Exeunt.] exit. Q.
London. A Street.] Theobald (subst.). Enter .] Malone; Enter Sincklo and three or foure officers. Q; Enter Hostesse Quickly, Dol Teare-sheete, and Beadles. Ff. 1. to God that] om. Ff.
137. Let ... lungs] Pistol was perhaps thinking of Tityus. Virgil, Aeneis, vi. 597, 598.
138. Where... led ?] The title of a song in Clement Robinson's A Handefull of pleasant delites, 1584. The full description of the song runs: "Dame Beauties replie to the Louer late at libertie: and now complaineth himselfe to be her captiue, Intituled: where is the life that late I led." The song begins: "The life that erst thou ledst my friend was pleasant to thine eyes." In The Taming of the Shrew, IV. i. 144, Petruchio sings, "Where is
the life that late I led?"
SCENE IV. Enter .] The name, Sincklo, which appears in the Q stage-direction,
is that of the actor who played the
2, 3. thou... joint] An allusion to the grip used by the officers in arresting persons. See Middleton, Anything for a Quiet Life, III. ii: “Now Flesh-hook ... set upon her right shoulder; thy sergeant. at the left," and The Puritan, 111. iii: " Pyeboord... hot Yron gnaw their fists! they [the ser
First Bead. The constables have delivered her over to
me; and she shall have whipping-cheer enough, I 5 warrant her: there hath been a man or two lately killed about her.
Dol. Nut-hook, nut-hook, you lie. Come on; I'll tell thee what, thou damned tripe-visaged rascal, an the child I now go with do miscarry, thou wert better thou hadst struck thy mother, thou paper-faced villain.
4. First Bead.] Malone; Bead. Rowe; Sincklo. Q (passim); Off. Ff (throughout). 5. enough] om. Q. 6. lately] om. Q. 8. Dol.] Whoore. Q (throughout). 9. an] Malone; and Q; if Ff. wert] had'st Ff.
geants] haue strucke a Feuer into my shoulder, which I shall nere shake out agen." Chapman, in May-Day, II. i, refers to sergeants as " pewter-buttoned shoulder-clappers" (cf. Comedy of Errors, v. ii. 37); and Dekker (The Guls Horn-booke) speaks of a "shoulderclapping arrest.'
4. constables] The constables, who were officers of the watch responsible for the keeping of the peace, having arrested Doll, handed her over to the beadles, inferior officers of the parish or Bridewell, whose function was to punish minor offenders.
5. whipping-cheer] An allusion to the whippings inflicted as a punishment upon courtesans. Craig compares "whipping-cheer " (whipping-fare, fare consisting of lashes with the whip) with " belly-cheer," an Elizabethan term, and cites S. Rowlands, Doctor Merry Man (Grosart, ii. 24): "At price of whipping-cheere." For the whipping of courtesans, see Dekker, The Honest Whore, Part I. (Pearson, ii. 38): "you dreame Of . Whips and Beadles "; J. Cooke, Greene's Tu Quoque (Haz. Dods., xi. 247): "Spendall [to Tickleman, a courtesan]. may'st thou in thy youth, Feel the sharp whip, and in thy beldam age The cart"; Middleton and Rowley, A Fair Quarrel, IV. iv.
7. about her] in her company; no doubt, in some quarrel over Doll. The killing of a man in a tavern brawl was
an unusual occurrence. In T. Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West, Part I. 1. i, when Captain Spencer kills Caroll, the Drawer remarks, "Is all paid? . . 'tis not so much for the death of the man, but how shall we
10. now] om. Q.
8. Nut-hook] a hooked stick used in nutting to pull down the branches of the trees; hence, figuratively, a beadle or constable. Cf. Merry Wives, 1. i. 171: "if you run the nuthook's humour on me," and Cleveland, Count. Com. Man, Poems, 1677 (quoted in New Eng. Dict.): "A Sequestratour! He is the Devil's Nut-hook, the Sign with him is always in the Clutches." The term is applied to a panderess in Dekker's Match Me in London, 1.
9. tripe-visaged] A reference to the flabby and sallow countenance of the First Beadle. Cf. Porter, Two Angry Women of Abington (Haz. Dods., vii. 356): "tripe-cheeks? out, you fat ass." Tripe was vended in Eastcheap (cf. Pearson's Dekker, i. 29).
9, II. an.. mother] In Webster, Duchess of Malfi, Iv. ii, Cariola, pleading for her life, exclaims, "I am quick with child." Miscarry, be born prematurely (Onions).
IO, II. thou... mother] A common saying; cf. Porter, Two Angry Women of Abington (Haz. Dods., vii. 335): "strike me? alas, he were better strike his father!" and Beaumont and Fletcher, A King and No King, v. i: "the foolish fellow had better have kick'd his grandsire."
II. paper-faced] sallow-complexioned. Cf. Henry V. II. ii. 73: "Their cheeks are paper," i.e. pale with fear.